McCaslin and Johnson are both promoting their latest collections, published by the St. Thomas Poetry Series.
Susan McCaslin is the author of eleven volumes of poetry, including her upcoming The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, May 2014), poems on the roots of violence and of peace-making. She is Faculty Emeritus of Douglas College in Westminster, BC, where she taught English and Creative Writing for twenty-three years.
Her previous volume, Demeter Goes Skydiving (2012) was short-listed for the BC Book Prize (Dorothy Livesay Award) and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award) in 2012. Susan has published a volume of essays, Arousing the Spirit: Provocative Writings (Wood Lake Books, 2011), and edited two anthologies on poetry and spirituality. Her memoir, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga, is forthcoming from Inanna Press (Toronto, Fall 2014). In addition, she is on the editorial board of Event: the Douglas College Review.
Susan is nourished by wilderness and by the world’s mystical traditions. She lives in Fort Langley, British Columbia, with her husband. Recently, she initiated the Han Shan Poetry Project as part of a successful campaign to protect an endangered rainforest along the Fraser River.
“'Ezekiel, Daniel, John of Patmos winced /at those horsemen…' We watch the terrors of mind and body and history riding past in the pages of Susan McCaslin’s book. Yet for her, the true defense against them is always love and reverence. Line by line, stanza by stanza, she teaches us that there is only one place of safety: the disarmed heart.”
Richard Greene, poet
“The Disarmed Heart by Susan McCaslin traces an electrifying arc from the poet’s sensory experience through to an embodied though allusive language, and on to ecstasis. McCaslin brings us to the place of direct perception where language is formed into a poetry that engages mind, heart with all the senses."
Penn Kemp, poet
“Susan McCaslin has delighted readers over the years with the wisdom and compassion of her writings, and her visionary ability to see deeply into the heart. “The Disarmed Heart” is perhaps the most playful and joyous book so far from this highly accomplished poet. These poems arise out of stillness but also out of peaceful activism. Here’s a dynamic world in which the poet brings together a “squadron of teens / streaming steadily from dirty yellow buses” to protect a threatened forest. Whether she’s engaging in imagined conversation with a banana slug or a mountaineer, there’s the same constant attentiveness and respect. With a liveliness of language that is engaging and diverse, it seems as if these poems occur naturally, spring up at our feet, “amazing themselves that there are so many ways to be.” Though there are dark visions and dreams concerning the god of greed, Moloch, or the “dank tureen” in which the poet finds herself in a dream of global warming, ultimately the poet sings of hope, and of “dwelling in possibility.” She leaves the reader with images of the power of poetry to act as a transformative force. These poems open in the reader a reciprocal amazement at the beauty and adventure of walking on this earth.”
Barbara Colebrook Peace, poet
Poetria Nova (St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2014) is Lee’s first book of published poetry, a selection that draws on his love of Nature, Renaissance and Romantic poetry, music, astronomy, and mathematics. All these interests flowed into his formal career as a Professor of English who was noted for his insights into the art of poetry and its history, going back to classical times. Essays on Virgil, Milton, and T.S. Eliot, among other masters of the metrical art, emphasize the range of Lee’s inquiries. At that time, most of his energy as a writer went into academic studies; now in retirement, he is returning to his essential love of poetry that, like an underground stream, nourished him throughout his years of earning a living.
He works with traditional metric, geometrical progressions, and rhythms in a way that makes Pythagorean and Medieval number theory new for our times.
"For many years I’ve longed to see Lee Johnson’s gem-like poems in print. They reflect at varying angles deep wit, lustrous compression, geometrical elegance, unpretentious cosmic engagement, and a touchingly human gratitude that we contingent things can participate in such words and wonders."
Dennis Richard Danielson, Ph.D., University of British Columbia, editor of
The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking.
WHERE: The Mykonos Restaurant at 572 Adelaide St. North, London, Ontario. The restaurant has a large, covered terrace just behind the main restaurant, which comfortably holds 60 poetry lovers. Mediterranean food and drinks are available. Except for the coldest months, the terrace is open to the parking lot behind. Overflow parking is available across the side street and in the large lot one block north, in front of Trad’s Furniture.
WHEN: May 7th, the first Wednesday of the month.
LIVE MUSIC: Rising local star, singer/songwriter Carly Thomas, will open the event at 6:30. She will also perform during the intermission and at the end of the event.
THE FEATURED POETS, first Lee Johnson, followed by Susan McCaslin, open the poetry portion of the event at 7:00, followed by a Q&A. Read Interview & poems by Susan McCaslinRead Interview with Lee Johnson: "Your own voice..." Advice for students of poetry.
OPEN MIC: Following the featured poet, there is about 1.5 hours of open mic, ending about 9:00 pm. Each poet has five minutes (which is about two good pages of poetry, but it should be timed at home). Sign up on the reader`s list, which is on the book table at the back. It's first come, first served.
RAFFLE PRIZES: Anyone who donates to London Open Mic Poetry Night receives a ticket for a raffle prize, three of which will be picked after the intermission. The prizes consist of poetry books donated by Brick Books and The Ontario Poetry Society. Donations are our only source of income. We still haven't paid off our initial debt!